Vincent Chauvet, Mayor of Autun, France and Renew Europe CoR coordinator in the Commission for the Environment, Climate Change and Energy (ENVE), was in Dubai to participate to the COP28 as part of the official European Committee of the Regions delegation.
The COP28 – the 28th session of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) – concluded on 13 December in Dubai with an agreement after intense final days of negotiations. The so-called Global Stocktake outcome report evaluates the progress made since the Paris agreement and outlines the way forward. Members of European Committee of the Regions who represented cities and regions in the official EU delegation such as Vincent Chauvet have issued the following statement:
“After a year of record-breaking temperatures and an unprecedented series of adverse climate events directly affecting local communities across the world, the COP28 marks an important step forward for the world’s governments to a transition away from all fossil fuels, but a future phase-out will ultimately be required. The Global Stocktake outcome report recognises the need for deep, rapid and sustained reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions to keep the Paris agreement target of 1.5°C within reach in this critical decade. However, this urgency still needs to be translated into stronger commitments by all Parties, and we are concerned that the final deal falls short of recognising the essential role of sub-national governments in climate action, making multilevel governance a pledge rather than a mandatory requirement.
“At the same time, many cities and regions continue to work hard to reach climate-neutrality far in advance of global, European or national targets. More importantly, they are accompanying their ambitious goals by action on the ground, be it in the field of transport, urban planning, energy efficiency or of nature restoration. Representing cities and regions in the EU, the European Committee of the Regions will continue its close cooperation with international networks to provide local and regional governments with the place they deserve on the national and global stage. We also expect the European Union to continue pushing for the increased involvement of cities and regions, in line with its negotiation mandate for this year’s COP.
“Above all, we are proud of some of the COP28’s key achievements that reflect the increasing importance given to action at subnational level: the agreement on a Loss and Damage Fund with direct financing to the most affected local and regional communities, the organisation of the first-ever Local Climate Action Summit; and the launch of the Coalition for High Ambition Multilevel Partnerships (CHAMP), which includes a commitment to involve local and regional governments in the planning and implementation of climate policies, including nationally determined contributions (NDCs). With the next round of NDCs to be submitted by 2025, these promises must now be converted into tangible action by the national governments. There is no time to lose.”
The UNDP estimates that up to 80% of mitigation and adaptation actions will be taken at the local and regional levels. On top of this, climate measures redesign territories and communities’ way of life. So the only successful climate transition is the one that will have local leaders fully involved in the decision-making process, something Chauvet has been pushing for. Chauvet: “I trust the EU will include in the COP28 conclusion a clear reference on the key role of regions and cities, as per the Council mandate. We also seek a formal institutional role in global climate negotiations, as in the UN biodiversity process.”
Chauvet: “81% of French people trust local elected officials to act for the climate and biodiversity, while being skeptical about the effectiveness of major international conferences. This is why it is very important to bring international negotiations closer to the local decision-making level. It is also the only way to achieve a just, effective and rapid transition towards an exit from fossil fuels to limit global warming which has already started.”
The CoR delegation, with Chauvet, spoke with European Commissioner for Climate Wopke Hoekstra.
During the last two days of his presence, Vincent Chauvet launched a media push for institutionalising the role of subnational governments in the final COP28 text.
What role or place for regions and cities at the COP28? Vincent Chauvet answers to Sauvons l’Europe:
Chauvet (in French) on COP28 on ODD TV:
Chauvet on Spanish TV:
Le Mouvement Democrate also covered Chauvet’s participation:
At a side event in the French pavilion, Universal Love covered Paris 2024, Fashion, Sport and recycling with several participants including Joëlle Colosio, Executive Director for ADEME; Caroline Louis, manager Économie Circulaires Pari 2024 ,Antoine De Souich, directeur Stratégie et Innovation, Solideo; Isabelle Quéhé, Directrice de l’association Universal Love; Marine Olacia, fondatrice de Sao Textile and Vincent Chauvet.
Chauvet held a bilateral meeting with the Romanian Minister for Environment, Water and Forestry as part of meetings with national delegations from the EU to urge them to join the CHAMP initiative and to see to which degree they involved their Mayors in this year’s NCEPs:
Thursday 7 December
At the plenary of the COP, Chauvet took the floor to speak on behalf of the local governments and municipality associations 👇
(picture: © European Union / David Martin)
Chauvet spoke on behalf of Local Governments and Municipal Authorities on the last day of the first part of COP28.
Wednesday 6 December
Chauvet is at the Ministerial Meeting on Urbanisation and Climate Change, which “tries to shape a global commitment, to share a resilient, just future for all and to stand united for a better future”. This happens in the light of the CHAMP – coalition for high ambitious multilevel partnerships – a first initiative of this kind agreed at the beginning of the COP, signed by 65 countries.
Tuesday 5 December
Vincent Chauvet discussed sustainable fashion, sport and recycling at COP28
“Sustainability is high on the agenda, especially today – as just last night an agreement was reached on new ecodesign standards in Brussels. But communication to companies and citizens is what remains key. And what better place to promote sustainable practices than the Olympics 2024.”
Chauvet shared his local experiences from his town of Autun, a place where the DIM – French clothes producer – is actively supported by the local government on its path to a more sustainable production, such as using less water, less energy and reusing sources”.
Chauvet also participated in the meeting of European leaders with DG CLIMA – multilevel governance and local support for a successful COP28 outcome (picture: © European Union / David Martin)
Chauvet’s participation attracted media coverage. Here he is on RCF radio, explaining his mission within the delegation, the atmosphere in Dubai and his views and forecast on future agreements, particularly in terms of phasing out fossil fuels: https://www.rcf.fr/ecologie-et-solidarite/commune-planete-rcf-hauts-de-france?episode=430393
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Chauvet: “I trust the EU will include in the COP28 conclusion a clear reference on the key role of regions and cities, as per the Council mandate. We also seek a formal institutional role in global climate negotiations, as in the UN biodiversity process.”
Chauvet’s participation at the COP28 comes after the leadership of local and regional authorities in driving climate action was recognized for the first time, a move long supported and pushed for by Vincent Chauvet.
The Council Conclusions for COP28 acknowledge the leadership of local and regional authorities, allowing them to gain recognition in the EU COP28 negotiating mandate.
Vincent Chauvet, Mayor of Autun, France, member of the CoR’s Green Deal Going Local Working Group, Climate Pact Ambassador and CoR rapporteur on ‘Stepping up Europe’s 2030 climate ambition towards COP26‘, is pleased with this outcome. It comes just ahead of the COP28 which will take place from 30 November to 12 December 2023 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and in which he will once again participate as member of the European Committee of the Regions delegation: “Climate change needs the involvement of local and regional representatives. As Mayor, as elected politicians, we want to have our say in mitigation and fighting climate change and preserving biodiversity”
Chauvet had been pushing for more of a leadership role for local and regional authorities in the absence of national governments that don’t seem to manage an ambitious agreement.
“Cities and regions needed to get this more serious, formal role in the climate negotiations, as they have a serious role in fighting climate change. The EU needs to lead there as well with ambition, giving also direct funding for cities and regions that would translate into tangible projects at the local level. This would give an additional push to the extraordinary ambitions that are already implemented in many European cities and regions, showing the way to local and regional authorities (LRAs) around the world and give LRAs leverage in accelerating the transition on the ground”
“If we want to succeed, we have no other choice but to involve and trust Mayors and local representatives. The upcoming COP28 in Dubai can now not forget or ignore that it is us who will have to carry out the decisions, spending the money for the energy transition, for decarbonisation so we require and deserve our important place at the table”.